By Logan Lowery
For Corinth Today
STARKVILLE – The Andy Cannizaro era at Mississippi State has ended abruptly.
The second-year head baseball coach of the Bulldogs resigned Tuesday morning amid off the field controversy.
“Earlier this morning, I accepted Andy Cannizaro’s resignation as the head baseball coach at Mississippi State,” MSU director of athletics John Cohen said in a university press release.
News of Cannizaro’s departure broke late Monday evening. The 39-year old was three games into his second season at the helm of the Diamond Dogs.
“I had a wonderful opportunity at Mississippi State, but unfortunately I made some poor decisions,” Cannizaro said. “I hope Mississippi State University and all of the fans and people affected will one day forgive me.”
Pitching coach Gary Henderson will takeover immediately as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Henderson has eight years of SEC head coaching experience at Kentucky where he posted a 258-199 record and guided the Wildcats to two NCAA Regionals. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2012.
“Although I have taken this position under some unfortunate circumstances, I have been with this team for two years,” Henderson said. “We have great student-athletes and a tremendous staff who proudly represent our tradition-rich program. We will move forward, focusing on the things we can control and give Mississippi State fans a team they can be proud of.”
Cohen, the former MSU baseball coach from 2009-16, hired Cannizaro as his replacement on Nov. 5, 2016.
Despite the late start and a multitude of injuries on the mound, Cannizaro guided the Diamond Dogs to a 40-27 record and into a Super Regional in his first season. State finished third in the SEC West standings with a 17-13 mark.
MSU started this season 0-3 under Cannizaro after being swept at Southern Miss over the weekend.
The Bulldogs embark on a 12-day, nine game road trip beginning Wednesday at Jackson State. Mississippi State is set to open its home slate on March 6 at the newly renovated Dudy Noble Field.